In July, my co-workers and I attended the MozCon 2022 conference. To be clear, I have no business attending an SEO conference. I’m a relatively new convert to the world of agency-provided digital marketing.
For the past decade, I’ve worked as the in-house marketing manager for a variety of nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest. Sure, I know what SEO is, but I’ve never dug in deep enough to learn how to do it properly. As an Account Manager at Intellitonic, I don’t do SEO work on a daily basis, but I have to say MozCon 2022 was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended – and I think it’s because I had no idea what anyone was talking about.
Let me explain.
Find Your Niche: Listen for the Keywords you Know
When you attend a conference outside your specialty, you tend to listen for what you do know. And if you’re anything like me, you really pay attention because you want to prove that your ticket was well bought. During the 3-day conference, I gravitated towards presentations that had the keywords (see what I did there?!) “content success and failure”, “data intelligence” and “audience personas” in the title. These were all topics I knew about, things I consider myself good at. And while I had no idea what any of these topics had anything to do with SEO, I had a foot in the door. That foot in the door ended up being the best way to learn.
See, the process of SEO has been around since the dawn of the internet. When the first website made its way to the world wide web in the 90’s, people realized that they had to compete with others for attention. Like the internet, speakers at SEO conferences need to set themselves apart from others in order to be heard. So, they talk about SEO in relation to a niche topic. Lucky for me, I know something about those niche topics.
Learning from the SEO Experts: Putting a New Lens on Prior Knowledge
Attending MozCon 2022 allowed me to really get to know SEO in a way that no blog or think piece could. I was able to see how experts in the field solved complex problems for their clients while helping their clients reach their goals.
- I learned how Joe Hall used data analysis to determine which SEO topics were the highest priority. Which was great, because I love data analysis and really resonated with his journey.
- I learned how Amanda Natividad uses audience personas to drive content creation and optimization and inform keyword research. I’ve spent years building and working with audience personas. Seeing how they can support SEO efforts really made sense.
- One of my favorite presentations covered the myths, misconceptions and mistakes learned from a decade in PR and SEO. This talk by Hannah Smith really spoke to my experience in writing content, sharing press releases and managing breaking news on social media, all while viewed with an SEO lens.
I could go on and on about the diversity of talks and how they helped put SEO into perspective for me. But really, I want to reiterate how important it was for me to have the opportunity to go to a conference outside my specialty. I really believe that it has improved my work, improved my understanding of SEO, and made me a better teammate.
So, look up the speakers and their specialties next time you’re trying to make a case for attending a conference outside of your specialty. It might be that the niche topic they’re speaking about is something you have a little experience with. And that right there is your foot in the door.